Autumn tends to be characterised by a distinct group of ingredients and styles – pumpkin, apple, pies and one-pot meals – but that isn’t the whole story. A simple, frugal pasta dish can be comforting and delicious in equal measure. Arrabbiata, with its hints of chilli and garlic demonstrates this perfectly, especially with a few butterbeans thrown in for good measure. Of course, chicken is the most common pairing with this Italian favourite, but for me it can often be a less-than-inspiring ingredient. Butterbeans all’Arrabbiata mixes things up beautifully, bringing an already incredible sauce to life.
Though frugality is, obviously, one of my top priorities in food preparation, dried legumes aren’t always the answer. Though cheaper, dried legumes aren’t the best choice in every scenario. For instance, in my arrabbiata sauce I chose to use tinned butterbeans as they hold their shape – an important consideration in any pasta dish. However, when making a chilli or one-pot casserole it is less important to include perfectly whole beans. Ultimately, which you use should come down to the individual legume and the nature of the dish. Chickpeas, for instance, hold their shape very well when dried and if you’re using them for hummus it doesn’t matter anyway!
• 2 tins of plum tomatoes
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 6 dried red chillies, finely sliced
• 3 cloves of garlic, mashed
• 4 tbsp olive oil
• 2 tsp dried herbs
• 2 tbsp tomato puree
• 1 tin of butterbeans or equivalent dried, soaked and boiled
• Salt and pepper to taste
• fresh basil, or similar, to serve
1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and fry the onion until translucent. Tip in the garlic and red chillies and cook over a gentle heat for a further 2 minutes.
2. Add the tomatoes, puree and herbs and cook for 30-40 minutes until the fruit has had a chance to break down. Tip in the beans and allow to heat through. Season and serve with penne and a hint of torn up basil.
Cost: As I’ve said many times before, pasta dishes of this nature never cost very much at all. Indeed, this entire dish should set you back no more than about £1.20.
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